1. It was hot, almost all the time, a good three hundred days of the year. What people commonly refer to as “golf weather.” What I commonly refer to as “hotter than Hades.”
2. It was tropically humid about two hundred days of the year. Translation: When you opened the door at seven in the morning, the air slapped your face like a hot washcloth and dared to take your breath away.
april in georgia
3. It rarely rained. When it did, it rained weird. It might have rained on one side of the street, but not the other. Or it might’ve rained for two minutes in two weeks. When it did rain properly, people did not know how to drive, and they stayed inside, recounting the horrors of water falling from the sky.
4. Palm trees.
5. Fire ants. If there is one species of life which should be eliminated from the planet, it’s the fire ant. I do not hate. “All creatures great and small” and all that. But OMFG, not fire ants. I read they came over to the zoo with rhinos in the 40′s, but my suspicions lead me to believe they originate in Hell. Again, I don’t believe in Hell, but fire ants make it a much more likely scenario.
6. Palmetto bugs. WHATTHEFUCKISTHAT?OMGKILLITKILLITKILLIT!
7. Spiders so big, my dog felt compelled to bark at them.
8. Armadillos. Like possums, but uglier.
9. Alligators. Down the street, in the swamp. In the ponds, at the park. Running across the street, in the woods.
10. Mosquitos, but for nine months of the year, or eleven, if it was a mild “winter.”
11. Flies. Good Gawd, the flies. When I first got there, one of my neighbors had fly paper IN her house. I thought that was so odd. AT FIRST.
12. Sand. Looks tan. Is black on the floors indoors. Sand is what makes up the first foot of the ground, then it’s clay.
13. Nothing I love to grow can grow in that sand, or in that climate.
14. Ground cover, not grass. Prickly ground cover. Every time we came “home” to visit, we slipped our shoes off and walked barefoot in real grass. Our wee ones thought soft green grass was a miracle.
easter in georgia, mid-march
15. Pumpkins rot outside in less than 48 hours.
16. You could not store refrigerator items on your back porch, because it was never cold enough. You couldn’t even cool a pie outdoors most of the time.
17. No sort of wet wipe could be kept in your car. Not for the console, not antibacterial, not baby wipes, because they all dry out immediately.
18. If you couldn’t find a shady spot to park in, you found you could actually drive your car with two fingers: one at ten o’clock and one at two o’clock.
19. Everything had to be sealed, because fire ants like to come inside and bite things other than people, but they’ll bite people inside, too. Before we got the fire ants under control, hahaha, I spent an entire summer bleaching my floors and floorboards daily. I spent a small fortune on baggies. I had to buy cereal containers. I never did stop storing my sugar in the freezer…
20. When we left Georgia, between the four of us, we owned twenty-six bathing suits, twenty-nine pairs of flip flops, six pairs of jeans, three warm sweaters, no woolen socks, and more sun hats than warm ones. Because whose ears were ever cold? and sunburn in the part of your hair is a real thing, yo.
21. Sassy and I had to wear sunscreen every time we were in the sun more than thirty minutes. I wore sunscreen every time I left the house.
22. This time of year is a major allergy season. Right around Christmas, the pine trees (we lived in a pine forest) go fertility berserk and we all had to be medicated, Moo the worst. I’m talkin Zyrtec, on top of Benadryl, on top of Flonase, on top of cough suppressant. Then in the Spring, everything gets coated with pollen (called gold dust) so thick you can write in it, so the allergy-free months are October and November. I own 18 medicinal dosing cups. Ten times that number have been killed by the garbage disposal, or the writing wore off.
23. Hurricanes. We were far enough inland that we didn’t have a hurricane, but we were close enough to the shore to need an evacuation plan. Collecting all of your outdoor items to secure your house is a major chore, and hurricane winds are NO JOKE.
24. There is a church every ten lots or more. They are almost all protestant churches. People be proselytizin like whoa. All the time, every day. Can’t go a day without someone mentioning Jesus, or worse yet, makin reference to being washed in the blood of the Lamb, and freakin out your heathen five-year-old. Tryin to buy a vacuum and some guy wants to save you. Pushin a kid on a swing and some woman wants to introduce you to her personal savior. The Bible Belt is a real thing, nearly tangible.
25. People in southeast Georgia love bass fishing. There is a megastore dedicated to bass fishing. People retire from the Army, and stay for the bass fishing. Veterans love to tell bass fishing stories, at length, without being prompted, in any possible social context. Odds are high that they will include Jesus and an alligator in the story about bass fishin.
26. A number of social gatherings do not jive with the represented climate. For instance, one should not need sunscreen at a hayride, on Halloween, or during a Christmas parade. Wearing August’s clothes while decorating the Christmas tree is strange, and there is no reprieve, because on Easter, your children will need sunscreen and bug spray before hunting for eggs.
on easter, late march, in georgia
27. Going to the zoo, or any sort of cultural venue was downright painful to me between April and December. Too hot. Too hot! I did not attend certain Girl Scout events or certain field trips because I could not bear to be outside when it’s 98 feels like 107 with 78% humidity and a 9 UV index.
was 105, feels like 112
28. The constant sun bleaches hair and darkens skin. Even those of us who are considered to be as white as specters or vampires will eventually take on a peachy hue. Even glow-in-the-dark redheads can get a tan between freckles if they live in Georgia long enough. I’m still tan. Despite Sunscreen. And that ombre hair color technique is a natural effect of constant, glaring sun. I don’t know what color my hair is anymore. I’m trying to let it go, so I can find out.
I thought I had a skin rash. I thought I might have had it before, because it looked so familiar. I would keep an eye on it, I said. No. I had forgotten I had a patch of freckles on my left hand.
29. I sweat like a whore in church. I sweat like a cold beer on a hot day. I sweat like no other woman you’ve ever known. If I’m not cold, I’m sweatin.
When I sweat, I turn beet red and people ask me if I’m okay.
NO, I AM NOT OKAY! I’M SWEATIN!
i’m NOT kiddin
30. I do not like summer clothes. I’m particularly revolted by the fact that my hair touches my skin, and worse, there’s always that one long hair that will attach itself to your shirt sleeve and tickle the bejesus out of your arm, makin you think there’s a bug, or worse, a goddamned fire ant, climbin on the back of your arm!
31. In the high humidity, my hair takes on a crazed poodle-do. You’ve seen the episode of Friends where Monica goes to Barbados?
32. There were way too many times I’d be like, “It’s November/December/January/February/March, why the FUCK is it 86 degrees?!?”
october 18, georgia
33. When it does get cold in Georgia, you still can’t find clothes that are warm. You end up on eBay and LLBean, lookin for warm things, because you’re never going to find warm socks, footy jammies, or thinsulate gloves in your neck of the woods. It’s like Georgia doesn’t care that you’re going to Indiana for Thanksgiving, where you cannot possibly wear tee-shirts, capris, flip-flops, and a sheer quarter-sleeve cardigan for those chilly air-conditioned places.
34. Sunglasses become less of a comfort and style issue and more of a safety-first health issue because you’d like your children to keep their retinas well into their 20′s.
35. I have never wanted blackout curtains more. The sun went down in our bedroom and as a result, it was hot in that room every single night, despite the fact that the upstairs air conditioning was set on 62. That’s right, I said the upstairs air conditioning. Downstairs I kept on 68.
A furnace? Needed occasionally. Mostly at 6am in February. Never between March and November. Never upstairs. Never for a full 24-hour period. My children had no concept of static electricity, humidifiers, or how registers get too hot to touch.
thanksgiving night in georgia
36. When fall Fashions hit the magazines, you feel an immense sadness knowing that you have no place to wear patterned opaque tights, fur-lined boots, houndstooth jackets, or cashmere scarves. In fact, just the thought of wearing any of that makes you start to sweat, and idea of a scarf seems to restrict your breathing substantially.
once, in january, hell froze over and i had to buy some boots.
37. Do you know what happens to mascara when it’s tropical hot? Or what happens to your lip gloss inside your purse? It’s a goddamned tragedy.
38. Unless you run your air conditioning at grocery-store-cold levels in the summer, you can’t keep wheat bread in the house for more than a few days without mold. I kept my house cold.
39. Christmas window clings melt, and become decidedly less festive.
40. When you’re a Northerner who hates to be hot, and you live in The Deep South, everything just feels wrong.